I do not know. how it happened, but it's been more than two months since Canyon Grail bikes have stayed with us. Test gravele, which on the one hand I would like to have, but on the other strongly ambivalent. I've even finished the entry ... twice, because I first removed it. Now, I must also remove the latter, because using the last joint moments, we decided to make the most right of them from just use: cross the Trail of the Eagles' Nests. Every attempt to make an objective statement about a gravel bike pushes me one step towards schizophrenia, but leave this subject to one of the next entries. Here is the legendary route and, I would not hesitate to say, one of the most well-known hiking and cycling routes in Poland.
Introduction omitting the introduction.
You can read about the trail and about historical and cultural curiosities on one hundred thousand other websites. There is something about it, because it consists mainly of castles, valleys, limestone rocks and from time to time a desert.
As representatives of cultural chambers, we focus here more on the aspect of driving than on the aspect of sightseeing, but trust us: we tried to delight in castles ... we just quickly got bored with it. The castles gather a lot of tourists with them - a lot more rocks me in the middle of a large and empty field.
In a nutshell: it is very nice, but without the places where you stand and say, "damn blub, but the smell." If you have a trekking bike and a hint of a tourist or you bought a gravel and you do not know what to do next, this is a must place.
The Eagles' Nests Trail runs between the market square in Częstochowa and the market square in Krakow. It's very well, because as a resident of Warsaw, we have very good railway connections with both cities. The collision with PKP is always a good adventure for me. Recently, when we tried to get to Szczecin for tests, we used three times more trains than we planned. Here the note of excitement appears on a good day, when the price for the first Cracow-Warsaw train, which I curse, costs PLN 150 per person in the second grade. WTF !?
What is long, singing and sraeing on the bushes? - Pilgrimage to Częstochowa.
What is small, singing and lying in the sand? - Panda (but only because he drives faster than me)
Taught by experience with PKP information systems, we buy tickets in person, at the box office. It also reminds me always that whatever I would not click at work, the lady in the PKP window has a harder time trying to fight the errors on the screen. Ultimately, however, we achieve success and use the connections:
IC Warsaw East - Częstochowa:
8:04 - 10:31 (Saturday); 54 PLN + 9 PLN for a bike
TLK Kraków Główny - Warsaw Eastern:
19:20 - 22:16 (Sunday); PLN 60 + PLN 9 for a bike
in total: PLN 132 / person-bike
We take little in the hypertension, because after two days of driving, you do not even have to dress (I do not have to;)). Apart from kilograms of photo / video equipment, only the pajamas, which can also do scandalous civilian or swimming suits, land in the luggage; two inner tubes; pump; multitool; patches; toothbrush, charger and jacket ultralight.
We do not make a reservation, because we do not know how many kilometers a day we can go by gravel. It was a delicate mistake.
The Kraków-Częstochowa Upland is a region heavily besieged by tourists, especially in the summer season. There are walkers, ordinary tourists, cyclists, climbers, company trips and organized trips - all of this practically fills up the available infrastructure. It is very probable that without a reservation we will not get on the train with a bicycle, nor will we find accommodation in a different way than knocking on agritourist's random door, which as you know - there is a lot of everything, but not when you need them.
Exceptionally, I suggest to book in advance, otherwise you will end up like us.
With a quick glance I checked some time ago that there are quite a few places on the route, so there should be no problems with looking in the ad hoc style. However, I did not check how quickly these accommodations disappear from the list available on the Booking and when we started to approach the half of the road that happily fell out in Olkusz, there was quite astonishment. Olkusz like a lot, because it is Biedronka and McDonalds, but among accommodation within a radius of several dozen kilometers, Booking showed two: a hostel with a shared 8-person room and a hostel for workers. Of course, the latter was falling: Hostel Kigo.
Price? PLN 30 per person, we strategically buy a whole, 4-bed room. What good can I say about him? It was cheap and we live.
With slightly smaller pluses - bedding, "furniture" and general conditions resemble camps in primary school, only then did man not know his life and was not afraid to eat a candy, which was lying on the floor for more than 3 seconds. In connection with the unloaded phone I am not able to prove to you at the reception that the accommodation is paid, so this makes me aware quickly that if it turns out untruth "they will be chasing you". It sounds credible in the mouth of a person surrounded by inscriptions in Eastern languages, among which I find only "pate" and "Chinese soup 1 PLN". Overnight is a se, but on the other hand - exactly what it should be at this price. As I did not take a towel, I need to use my outgoing socks for this. In such moments I think about Michał, who is just overcoming hundreds of kilometers in the snowstorm in the US, spending the night in post offices and I immediately appreciate the luxuries I have here.
Bicycle Trail of the Eagles' Nests
The Bicycle Trail of the Eagles' Nests is officially 186km, you can find a preview and description here: https://www.orlegniazda.pl/Trasy/Pokaz/12398
It is also written there that the estimated travel time is 11 hours, but I would rather not suggest it ;-)
With some measure of courage, you can assume that 186km is more or less as much as the average person on trekking who has a very high dose of perseverance. For us, this is a bit low, even taking into account the strong tourist mode, so we extend the trail a bit, occasionally deviating to the pedestrian version and visiting the Ojcowski National Park. I would not be suggesting this route in your place, because I suspect that we missed a few important places, and several could be overcome much more effectively or more effectively. However, the Fathers are worth a kilometer. Visits make it true that the trip route becomes very demanding, even though the numbers do not testify:
In the end, 263km and ~ 3100m are vertical, half-spread for two days.
The official route can be downloaded >> HERE <<
The route is marked very well and with a little focus, you can drive virtually from the market square in Czestochowa to the market square in Krakow, based only on the red trail. This, of course, has the disadvantage that when we think for a moment and we miss the intersection, it is a chapel. The places in which we were turned back by navigation were maybe 2 or 3, but I would venture to say that no computers are needed to drive the route.
As for the surface, this is a classic gravel: some ideal asphalt (really perfect), some gravel, some forest paths, sometimes a bit of sand, roots and cones. All to do without problems on tires from 33mm upwards.
Any attempt to improve the route and jump to the part of the pedestrian ends with a fight with sand - I do not recommend it without a wide tire.
Worse yet, as I mentioned, most of the asphalt we pass is obscenely good and obscenely empty. These are classic, EU road repairs, somewhere in the middle of nothing. There is nothing else we can do to get back there with the roads.
What to see on the route
The list of attractions on the route is huge. From those quite serious like castles, to those that please us a lot more, such as looking for things that may and do not look impressive, but they are called: Cave on Asce, Laski Playground, Leśny Hasiok, or Hanys' Reconciliation Cave and Goroli.
There are so many castles and ruins that after some time we stop paying attention to them, but my quiet favorite are those in Olsztyn (obvious obviousness) and Mirów.
As far as landscapes are concerned, the Landscape Park of Krakow's Valleys undoubtedly reigns here, although one must admit that the whole route is rather high. It is not a level "oh wow, but stomp", but it is just fine. A few valleys, several reserves, dense and dark forests, as well as empty fields to the horizon - something good for everyone.
The Bicycle Trail of the Eagle Nests is passable by gravel (33mm-40mm) in 99.9% to 100% depending on the person who counts. On the walking trail, it is a pity for health.
Paintings say more than a thousand words (a guy who defends himself against the youtuber has written, so I invite you to look at what you can expect on the route. There are few photos from the drone, because on the way I realized that after all we go mainly nature reserves and landscape parks, and although using it is not prohibited there, it seems to me somehow bad.
The castle in Olsztyn is probably one of the most hackneyed, but unfortunately one of the most beautiful ones - especially considering the area in which it is located:
Somewhere between Olsztyn and the castle in Mirów, we discover that trying to jump on a walking trail is not a good idea ... especially if you are not a sand psychophan. About the fact that such a psychophane is not confirmed by a visit to the Siedlce Desert, which looks like a slightly larger sand pellet in Kampinos. We also fail to find a place called Cave on Ascewhich should be next - it's a pity, the willingness to check in there was big. Next, we make a short one at the Twardowski Gate (quite nice rock), where we are attacked by one thousand five hundred mosquitoes. In Ostrężnik, we can not find the ruins of the castle, although as it later appears on the Internet, it turns out - we saw them, but we did not know that the ratio of ruins to the castle is so much moved towards the ruins.
If it were not for our shortcut on a walking trail, I would say that the roads are perfect.
Generally, during the whole trip, the ratio of hardened roads to unpaved roads, I think it was around 50/50 (at least temporarily)
The castle in Mirów is very cool. I would even say that it's probably the best. Such a little ruin, and a bit of a castle - it is a pity only for those scaffolds set up around and signs, so as not to get close.
The castle in Bobolice is a few kilometers away and does not make that impression anymore - maybe because it is too new. Interestingly, in the pictures on the internet it looks like one of the best, but maybe we are just starting to get bored, or maybe because of the number of tourists and buses. I really respect the idea of building two castles at a distance of 1.5km from each other.
Imagine that you are going through the forest. Such a forest-forest, that for the last 20 minutes you had only the local PKS (which you feel so far) on the road and you hear the singing of women suddenly. You look right, and there, under a viaduct, a dozen or so dressed up in folk costumes perform a song that I do not remember at the moment (and it tires me a bit). If it was a 10-hour drive and I was alone, I would probably have to get off the bike and go to sleep or sign up to see the doctor right away. We're doing a theory that there's just good acoustics and that's normal, that's it tests on a pre-production environment.
Edit, my girlfriend who does not forget anyone but remembers the song. Looking at the text, the level of anxiety increases tenfold:
In the Kielce forest, there under the pines, Where the calves have blossomed, There a young soldier in the grave rests, Away from his family. His grave is covered with moss, And above her the cross is birch, White lily of the valley blooms in the spring, And around the pine forest. On the old pine, one of his colleagues, He left such a slogan: Śpijże, buddy, in this dark grave, One of the fascists killed you.
Next is Bąkowce Castle in Morsk, which we visit only because it has a funny name, but nothing else. I think the locks have overeat. We are much more amused that it lies at the ski slope, which had to be driven sideways - laughter which does not measure ;-) We do not even take photos.
In contrast to the Okiennik Rock, which emerges somewhere along the road and which we can not ignore. The idea to enter this hole at the top quickly passes when we see climbers who practice on one of its walls. In general, climbers on this day we see a lot of people and I really envy both skills and courage.
We are headed to Ogrodzieniec quite pleasant and renovated. We pass A house with the Versace logo (I don't know what it is, but it is marked on the maps by some laugh) and something called: Bzów Rock Row. It seems like a rock like many in the area but thanks to the surrounding fields it looks very nice:
Ogrodzieniec is Gubałówka, period. If you like sugar-wool, plastic toys, inflatable attractions, noise and nonsense - you will not be disappointed. I will not say much about the castle itself, because I did not pay any attention. I only know that there are nice walls with climbers at the back and a nice view of the area. Otherwise:
You read the entry of a guest who did not enter any castle, because the tickets are paid.
so I would not trust myself.
Then there are mainly forests - more and less dense. Sometimes we drive a great asphalt and sometimes a dirt road. We also reflect on Czubatka, a viewpoint to the Błędowska Desert, which turns out to be a light profession. I must admit that from the story I imagined it on a slightly different scale.
Dinner on the market in Olkusz, where in Batorówka restaurant we pretend that we are in the mountains, shopping in Bierdonce and our hardcore accommodation.
Sunday is again fields, forests and asphalts, which this time is much more, but mainly through our inventiveness. We leave a few kilometers of the red trail and go further east towards the Ojców National Park. Asphalt roads remind us a bit of Tatra towns - there are moments in which I would give myself a seatpost, for example, I am in Zabę. It is also very steep ... very much. Small traffic and good surfaces remind us that we will gladly come back here on the roads.
Ojcowski National Park welcomes us in an unusual style. We hit a rally of tuned cars ... in the worst way: a large rim and loud exhalation. Golfs shuffling along the way, a roadster and police secret police chase fit perfectly into the landscape of the national park. And besides, it's very nice - family like that.
Hills and asphalts bring us to Dolinka Będkowska - our kind, homely Yosemite (entry about Yosemite without a bike, entry about Yosemite with a bike, but without riding). There is camping, there is a valley, there are climbers on the rocks and even a waterfall called "Szum" and there are rocks with an even more telling name: Elephant's ass.
The last 40 kilometers are slightly forgotten, because all day we are traveling in the hot sun. Dehydration makes us slightly odycycie us additional attractions in connection with which, let's forgive, for example, the castle Tenczyn Castle about 200 meters from him.
We are just waiting to immerse ourselves in the Zakrzówek Lagoon near Kraków.
Unfortunately, we forget that it is hot, Sunday, June afternoon and Krakow is so stuffed with people that you can forget about doing anything, and certainly about finding a piece of space to put up with the bikes at the lagoon. We circle the tank and run away to look for ice cream in the city center.
At the urging of anonymous opinion of people from the internet, we land in Międzymiastowa pizzeriawhere it takes exactly that long to wait for food to go straight to the station. For consolation, Panda eats a pizza with beetroot and cheese (cold), which she believes is one of the best she has ever eaten. Expectation is made easier by watching drunken foreigners.
The Bicycle Trail of the Eagles' Nests - is it cool?
On the Internet, we find a lot of information about the fact that the trail is poor, because it is impossible to drive it, eg with a children's trailer. In fact, there are times when you need to get to like roots, cones and sand, but this is exactly what our forests do, and asphalting or glutting everything is not always the best option. There is a reason, however, the trail on the official website is assigned a level of difficulty: medium. From my own experience, I can write that if we actually stick to the route, it is 99% (although of course it depends on the weather) passable by cross-country bike. If you are looking for something simple, I invite you to the island of Usedom.
I missed one on the Trail of the Eagles' Nests. Consistent graphic identification and an extensive system of information boards. Such boards, spaced every several kilometers, would inform us in an interesting way, what we will pass, what we see and throw a curiosity.
I would write something about cultural heritage, history, castles, nature and everything that is worth it and falls out, but it would be too obvious. This route is simply very nice and thanks to the smart management, stress-free - both in terms of navigation and car. Of course, going on a popular route among families with children and tourists on trekking, you can feel for a moment like a 30-year-old on a children's carousel in an amusement park (you are on it only because of the child, right?). Is this wrong though? Do we all have to be pros, harpagans and winners? Sometimes you can be a simple losing on an expensive bike and spend the whole day trying to defeat 130km, drawing a lot of joy from it ;-)
I come back home with some such unpleasant feeling that the area around Krakow is much better than around Warsaw ... thankfully, in 4 months autumn and people will start to warm up ;-)